Customer Service Tip of the Week

When Jack Gave Arnie a Tip - 1/21/20


Jack Nicklaus may have been the greatest golfer ever.  Many think that Arnold Palmer was the most important golfer of the 20th century.  These two greats were contemporaries, so they became competitors and friends all at once.  And when somebody who is one of the greatest of all time Read more

Make it Abundantly Clear - 1/14/20


Becky was laying in her hospital bed and staring at the whiteboard on the wall.  It had a room number, the room’s phone number, and the date.  It had the pictures of the pain scale, with happy-to-sad faces and ratings from 0-10.  It noted when the last meds were Read more

Become the Wishing Well - 1/7/20


When you don’t know if the next step will solve the customer’s problem, give hope a chance.  If you’re not certain how things will progress on their project, give hope a chance.  If you want to end the conversation by having them feel positive, even if uncertain, give hope Read more

Why Silence is Golden - 12/31/19


In the world of customer service, to begin finding a resolution, sometimes we have to initiate conversation. To keep things moving forward, oftentimes we have to proactively engage in discussion.  To have effective dialogue, we need to avoid those long periods of dead silence. But don’t let those truths of Read more

2019 Holiday Poem - 12/24/19


There is joy absolutely everywhere, Sometimes you just need to look for it. There are birds and babies. There are flowers and sweet older ladies. You just have to look for them. People hold doors open for others, with smiles. There are days when you can see for miles. You just have to look for them. There Read more

Encourage the Customer - 12/17/19


Everybody sing with me:  Feelings, whoa whoa whoa, feelings… Excellent old song, and be thankful that I’m just writing the words and not singing to you.  While not all of us are comfortable with discussing feelings, feelings are an important part of the customer experience. No, you can’t make someone feel Read more

Hearing is Believing - 12/10/19


“I just want to be heard.” When I work with clients whose customers are the community, this is a phrase I’ve heard far too often from residents.  For retail businesses and other industries where there are many choices, often customers will take their business elsewhere instead of complaining.  But with Read more

Assuming the Solution – The Great Time Waster - 12/3/19


Here are 3 customer service scenarios for a college IT department: A staff member calls in and says that they’re having trouble logging in.  The employee responds:  “I can reset your password for you.” A faculty member calls IT and says: “I need help showing a video during class Read more

Become a Best Practice - 11/26/19


When evaluating the service that our clients provide to their customers, we look at all sorts of things – from employee attitudes to knowledge, from service skills to procedures, systems, and technology.  We look at navigation to and within the facilities, and we look at layout and signage and Read more

Serve with Integrity - 11/19/19


I’ve been reading a book recently about a Charlotte-based service company, and the author of the book conveys the CEO’s perspective on management, culture, and serving customers. At the back of the book, the author noted the organization’s Core Values. They are honesty, integrity, fairness, and respect. I literally Read more

Libby Listened to Serve – 7/16/19

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Libby was new to her role with the organization. She had never been a customer service representative in a call center before, but she was hired because of her attitude. She wanted to learn, enjoyed working with people, and could carry on a conversation with a wall.

After going through her training on the computer and phone systems, she began to work in the live environment. Day after day she took the calls from the customers, answering their questions and handling their complaints. As her supervisor would monitor her production on the phone, he noticed an alarming statistic. Her average call length was about 30 seconds longer than the organization’s target.

The supervisor needed to know why this was happening. He knew that she was a good conversationalist based on their employee meetings and her initial interviews with the company. Maybe she was talking way too much.

So he began auditing her calls, listening in for long periods of time during the day. Suddenly, several things became obvious. First, she surely was not a big talker. She had a friendly tone when she did talk, but she was actually quite quiet. Then the supervisor noted when she did talk that she would either affirm something the customer was saying or she’d ask a question. Then he realized that she was resolving their issue herself, or getting the most appropriate answer herself to the question on that one call. There would be no need for that customer to call back on that topic again. This was First Call Resolution at its best.

Then he realized her secret. She was a great listener. The customers loved talking with her, they got their items addressed, and they felt that someone cared about them. And at the same time, she didn’t talk too much, and she addressed their topics on the spot. There would be no repeat calls on the same topics from Libby’s customers.

The supervisor was so pleased with what he found that he redesigned their call-handling procedures to focus on effective listening techniques. He focused on owning the customer’s satisfaction. And he focused on using effective questioning techniques to resolve issues on the first call.

The volume of calls dropped because of the resolution, customer satisfaction soared, and employee morale grew. All because they learned how to listen.

Listen to your customers and your employees to serve them better.

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Chris Got Noticed for All the Right Reasons – 7/9/19

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Chris was working through a temporary agency, and he got a job at a warehouse. He was packaging items to be shipped out, and his shift didn’t start until 7:30 a.m. Chris always got there a little bit early because of the bus schedule, and he hated just sitting around; so he would pick up a broom and sweep the break room. He would take some Windex and clean off the tables. Occasionally he would mop up the floor or use elbow grease on some countertops.

He was doing all this while he was waiting to do the job he was getting paid to do.

One of the managers noticed him cleaning before his work started, and he asked about Chris’ background. Chris had a lot of experience in custodial services, and the manager and his peers were impressed with his initiative and the quality of his work. He moved into a role with the custodial staff and eventually became full-time.

The owner of the company noticed how the windows in the front lobby were clearer than they had been in years, and he asked around as to how that was happening. The lobby staff mentioned how they had noticed Chris working extra hard on the front windows. The owner called Chris into his office, and he just thanked Chris for the quality of the work and for making the lobby look so bright for the first time in years.

A lady who worked in the facility who had never met Chris before had noticed Chris working out in the 95 degree heat, cleaning signs and sweeping off the front entrance. He was obviously working hard to make the place look good not only inside but outside as well. The lady had never officially met Chris before, but she bought a soda and brought it to him, telling him how she noticed how hard he was working out in the heat.

Sometimes being a great team member means seeing something that needs to be done and just doing it. Sometimes it means making your company look better to others. Sometimes it means having a great work ethic and caring about your company. And sometimes it results in getting noticed – getting noticed for all the right things.

People were watching Chris, and that was a good thing.

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What Does “No News” Mean? Here’s a Quick Story – 7/2/19

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Steven was trying to make the purchase of his new used car official, so he could get license tags for his State. In order for the State to allow him to put the vehicle in his name, he had to submit paperwork to prove that the prior owner (from another State) had passed away since the owner’s children were selling the car. Steven put together 13 pages of documents including a copy of the death certificate, and he sent them off to the State.

Three days passed, and he didn’t hear anything. Seven days passed, and he didn’t hear anything. Two weeks passed, and…well, you get the picture.

With Steven’s patience gone and his concern heightened because he was driving the car around when it wasn’t in his name, he called the State.

Their response: “Yes, we received the fax, but we didn’t get the death certificate. So, we denied it.”

Steven: “Why didn’t you tell me that you didn’t get the death certificate? Why didn’t you let me know you denied it?”

The State: “Well, we tell customers it will be approved in 3-5 days, so we assumed that you’d figure it was denied if you didn’t hear from us in 3-5 days.”

Yes – that was really the response. Essentially what they said was – We didn’t contact you to tell you there was an issue because we figured you would realize that there was an issue if we didn’t contact you to tell you there was an issue.

Some customer service is so bad, you can’t make this stuff up.

It’s vital to proactively and promptly tell customers when there’s a problem, when there’s an issue, when more information is needed, when there’s a denial or cancellation.

You’ve probably heard the old saying that “No news is good news.” But in this case, “no news” was bad news, and it turned into a bad experience.

Never assume that the customer knows what “no news” means.

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